Well here I was in the Netherlands, participating in the Model United Nations (MUN) from Lincoln School, Kathmandu. As I walked into the brightly lit room, the warm air blew past my face giving my body refuge from the cold blustery weather of Leiden. I stood at the entrance as my friends moved in. I took in the vibe of the hall’s grand entrance. There were so many people walking around talking, but to me it all sounded like chirping of baby birds. It was as though the voices were unfocused and the only thing that I could focus on was the multitude of flags hung on the ceiling. My eyes scanned them for the Nepali flag. Finally I found it at the far end on the left corner, the flag gave me pride and a much needed sense of confidence, I felt yes I too belonged here in midst of the participants from so many nations, all with a singular goal of a more effective United Nations.
Everybody soon swarmed into the opening ceremony hall. We all sat in the space provided for our Committees, I was in the Special Food Conference (SpCf) Committee. We all sat somewhere in the left back corner. The Opening Ceremony went by fast, and it was a blur. Soon the Secretary General banged the gavel and said, “Leiden MUN 2016 has officially begun.” All of the sudden the nervousness had come back surging through my body and I felt that all the confidence I had gained was gone. I walked up to our Committee room dreading what awaited me, not realizing that this MUN would change not only the way I see the world, but the way I see Nepal as a nation state, in this world of ever uniting nations.
I sat behind a yellow, wooden placard with CANADA, the country I was a delegate of at this MUN. I looked around and I realized that our Committee wasn’t too big; there must have been about 40 people in the room. During the lobbying sessions I realized that most of the other delegates had far more experience than me, most of them coming to their 10th MUN, while this was only my second. This made the fear rise even more within me. The lobbying ended and the sessions carried on. I sat glued in my seat, knowing exactly what to say, but never knowing when to say it, always too afraid that someone would say I was wrong; and while I was toiling with this debate in my head the session ended.
On the second day the room was more vibrant and the vibe was far friendlier. Having debated only in my head yesterday, I finally mustered the courage to speak and slowly stepped up to the podium and put my thoughts in words and let them fly out of my mouth. At first nervously a bit too fast, but then slowly in the tone and pace I wanted. No one yelled at me, or told me I was wrong. I stepped of the podium and as I walked back a new feeling rose within me. I felt powerful. As the rest of the conference days went on I listened and participated. The idea of MUN transformed from something my parents forced me to do, to something that could change not only the world, but my views on the world and how I could make an impact to create the world I wanted.
The idea of conflict also struck me in that room. The idea of the United Nations is to bring peace amongst all nations, by accepting the differences in other cultures, religions, and political beliefs. In this room we all may have differing points of view, but we were all friends, trying to find solutions for worldwide problems. We were all different and yet we were one. There are so many nations that are war torn, and under rubble; for the simple reason that differences aren’t accepted, respected and appreciated.
As the Leiden MUN was drawing to an end amongst the many learning that I had picked up, the one thought that resonated in me was that we all needed to value different opinions and perspectives if we are to create peace not only worldwide, but within each nation of the United Nations as well. I started to think about the divisions caused by the recent decision of the United Kingdom to exit the European Union, and the divisiveness of the Presidential elections in the United States, and then my thoughts floated back home to Nepal and the many issues that seem to be dividing us as a nation today.
The long flight home gave me ample time to reminisce and recall all the deliberations, debates and discussions of the past few days, and as I sorted through it all the realization dawned on me that to have a truly effective United Nations the first thing we have to do is have truly united nations. If Nepal is going to play an effective role in the realm of the United Nations then first my nation has to stand united in the critical issues facing us. As the plane touched down in Kathmandu I was resolved, if only a united nation can be a effective participant in the United Nations, I must and will do what I can to firstly unite my nation and then move ahead to ensure that Nepal finds its place as an effective member of the United Nations!